Thurston Professorship Awarded to Bassler

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BruceProfessorshipHighlightAMES, Iowa — Bruce Bassler, an Iowa State University associate professor of architecture, has been named the first recipient of the Stan G. Thurston Professorship in Design Build in the ISU College of Design.

Iowa State alumnus Stan Thurston created the professorship to support the recruitment and retention of Iowa State faculty who are leaders in the field of design-build. Thurston received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from ISU in 1969.

Bassler joined the Iowa State architecture faculty as an assistant professor in 1985 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1991. He teaches courses focused on materials and construction technology.

As the department’s design-build studio coordinator, he has engaged more than 400 students from architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, construction engineering and materials science in 22 projects over 18 years. Some of his classes have collaborated with the building trades programs at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge and Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls.

Projects including innovative camping cabins and picnic shelters have been completed in Ames, Fort Dodge, Jewell, Urbandale and South Sioux City, Neb. Bassler’s students also have renovated a number of College of Design studios, offices and review spaces, including an overhaul of the college’s Armory studiosin 2012.

“Professor Bassler has long understood that design-build provides an invaluable option for students who both are driven by the concerns of good citizenship and possess a desire to engage the material reality of architecture as built form,” said Deborah Hauptmann, chair of the ISU architecture department.

“The Thurston Professorship will allow him to enhance students’ experience and engage in important explorations of the advances and best practices in design-build,” she said.

Bassler holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Iowa State (1972) and a Master of Architecture from Texas A&M University (1975). Prior to joining the ISU faculty, he worked in Manhattan, Kan., as a design associate at the Design Studio (1976-1978), principal of Bruce L. Bassler, Architect (1978-1980) and B.L. Bassler & Schnackenberg Architects (1980-1985); president of Bassler Design/Build (1980-1985) and assistant professor of architecture at Kansas State University (1981-1985).

Since 1985, Bassler has operated Bassler Building Diagnostics and Consulting in Ames. He frequently prepares technical reports and provides depositions or testimony at trial, arbitration and mediation hearings related to building performance, code compliance and construction quality disputes. Much of this work informs his architecture course offerings at Iowa State.

Bassler is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the State of Iowa Architectural Examining Board, the Association of Christian Design Professionals and Engineering Ministries International. He served on the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s steering committee from 1992 to 1998 and chaired the council’s cladding subcommittee from 1989 to 2006.

“Teaching design-build has provided me with a privileged front-row seat where I have been able to observe students blossom in their ability to work with real clients and integrate design process with concerns for cost control, time management and constructability,” Bassler said. “To now be recognized with an award for work that I have thoroughly enjoyed and that represents tremendous student accomplishments is truly humbling.”

Bassler said the Thurston professorship will support his efforts to expand the design-build program, enhance studio resources and provide opportunities to contribute to the profession’s evolution.

“This very generous award will fund additional tools and equipment along with the means to transport and store them on the job site,” Bassler said. “I also plan to organize a colloquium of academic experts and practitioners of design-build to share best approaches for teaching, researching and practicing this project-delivery method.”

Bassler will be recognized in a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, in the College of Design’s Lyle E. Lightfoot Forum. Speakers will include Jonathan Wickert, ISU senior vice president and provost; Luis Rico-Gutierrez, dean of the College of Design; Deborah Hauptmann, chair of the Department of Architecture; Bassler and Thurston.

The Stan G. Thurston Professorship in Design Build was established through a gift made through the Iowa State University Foundation, a private, nonprofit corporation dedicated to securing and managing gifts and grants that benefit Iowa State University.

Bruce Bassler, Architecture, (515) 294-8256,
Deborah Hauptmann, Architecture, (515) 294-7185,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,